Tobacco Bill Praised as a ‘Victory for Bipartisanship’

Posted June 22, 2009 at 1:53pm

President Barack Obama on Monday signed legislation creating new restrictions on tobacco marketing, praising the bill as a “victory for bipartisanship.—

Surrounded mainly by Democrats — even though the vote to approve the bill was overwhelmingly bipartisan — Obama hailed the legislation as a win against special interests that he said for “decades— have opposed the bill, which grants the Food and Drug Administration purview over tobacco.

But in fact, the legislation had the support of the nation’s largest cigarette maker, Philip Morris. The bill was viewed by the company’s lesser rivals as a bid by the tobacco giant for market share.

Among the lawmakers in attendance were Sens. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), John Dingell (D-Mich.), Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), and Todd Platts (R-Pa.).

Obama spent several minutes after the meeting off to the side of the Rose Garden in a conversation with Bingaman, who as Energy and Natural Resources chairman is leading Democratic efforts on energy, a top Obama priority.

Dodd, a key player on health care — Obama’s other top legislative priority — was making his second trip of the day to the White House.